President Mnangagwa said on Thursday that Zimbabwe should take a leaf from Rwanda’s post-genocide reconciliation model as it embarks on its healing process. Rwanda witnessed the massacre of at least a million people in about 100 days in 1994.
Rwandans every year mourn the genocide victims for 100 days from April 6 to July 4. On April 6, 1994, a plane carrying the President of Rwanda Juvenal Habyarimana and his counterpart Cyprien Ntaryamira of Burundi, both Hutus, was shot down killing all on board. The Hutu extremists immediately started a well organised mass killing of Tutsis and moderate Hutus.
The plane was allegedly shot down by Hutus to provide an excuse for the genocide. Women were beaten, raped, humiliated, abused and ultimately murdered, often in sight of family members.
President Mnangagwa was among the Heads of State and Government who joined the people of Rwanda in Kigali for the 25th Rwanda Liberation Day celebrations. Today the people of Rwanda who in 1994 butchered each other using weapons such as machetes, clubs, knobkerries and old guns are one united family working for the development of Rwanda.
The Hutus and Tutsis are working together to revive Rwanda’s industries as well as attract foreign direct investment. Rwanda today is a shining beacon of a united nation that is enjoying the benefits of a shared national vision.
President Mnangagwa said despite experiencing one of the most horrific ethnic clashes in contemporary world history, Rwanda is now one of the fastest growing economies in Africa.
He said the country is enjoying unity and peace after it successfully managed to bury its painful past. “It’s an exceptional experience of reconciliation. Twenty five years ago Rwanda could have been torn to pieces but President Kagame rescued the situation and has built a proud, united and integrated Rwanda,” said Cde Mnangagwa.
He said the Rwanda experience reminds him of the Zimbabwean situation. President Mnangagwa said as Zimbabweans we are one family regardless of the part of the country one comes from and that is what Rwanda has achieved. “I think it is not an easy job but it’s something to emulate and strive to achieve,” said President Mnangagwa.
He said what was needed was a strong political will to defeat the merchants of division. We totally agree with President Mnangagwa that Zimbabwe could learn from Rwandans who today are enjoying the benefits of a united family.
Rwanda is enjoying massive development which has greatly improved the welfare its people and as President Mnangagwa said, what we need is a strong political will for Zimbabweans to enjoy the same.